Jarlet, porcelain, Vietnam, 15th-16th century
This faceted hexagonal jarlet painted in underglazed blue with geometric and stylised floral and leaf designs is one of the various examples produced during the fifteenth to sixteenth century in Vietnam. Vietnamese ceramics were largely influenced by Chinese designs and decoration. This would undoubtedly be the result of the Ming invasion of the country in 1407 and its occupation by the Chinese until 1428. However, they are not slavish copies and have a distinctive Vietnamese quality. While patterns such as floral scroll, the trailing vine with peony, and the geometric design were borrowed from Chinese ceramic decoration, they were never exact duplications.
The large quantity of Vietnamese porcelain from the fourteenth to the sixteenth century can be found in Indonesia and the Philippines. These ceramics were preserved very well because of the local burial customs. However, the founding was declined due to change of customs by arrival of Muslim and Christian influences from late sixteenth century and onward.
This jarlet is a part of Mal Maloney's ceramic collection which comprises classic early Southeast Asian and Chinese ceramics including ceramics from the Sawankalok and Sukhothai kilns in Thailand, Annamese wares from Vietnam and Swatow and Ming Dynasty wares from China. All ceramic wares in this collection were collected in Jakarta betweeen 1968 and 1976. The collection is a good representation of trade wares in Southeast Asia and reflects the development of the ceramic industry and trade within the Asian regions during the thirteenth century and seventeenth century. This group of ceramic ware was probably exported to Indonesia via a sea trade route when Thailand became deeply involved in the long-distance ceramic trade.
Curator Asian Arts & Design
Ref: Richard, Dick, South-East Asian Ceramics: Thai, Vietnamese, and Khmer, Oxford University Press, Kuala Lumpur, 1995
The collection was purchased from trade people known as 'tukang' in Jakarta, Indonesia by the donor, Mal Maloney, Sydney.
Mal Maloney says 'All the ceramics were acquired in Jakarta during the time I was working there during the period of 1968 -1976. We developed an interest in these items because our Chief geologist, Dean Frasche, was a college and a well known authority on SEA ceramics and he was always identifying pieces and explaining their origin and age. All pieces were bought over many years from 'tukangs' or tradesmen who brought their wares to our house and offered them for sale. All were the subject of the usual Asian bargaining process, sometimes for as long as 20 minutes per piece!'